Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves.
Monday, May 21, 2012
When you hear the word courage what do you think of? I think of brave men and women like William Wallace, Amy Carmichael, Thomas Jefferson, Dolly Madison, and Stonewall Jackson. I think of swords, bows, and arrows; fire, bombs, and blood; soap boxes, microphones, and crowds. It’s not often that I think of myself, or my sisters and brothers. We just aren’t those kinds of people. I hear battle cries and passionate speeches, not the voices of those I hold so dear. Yet, are we not all called to be courageous? Aren’t we all told we can make a difference, change the world? Somehow, it seems that we’ve dug a large trench between the famous heroes of history and our own simple selves. There seems to be some strange void keeping us from being great men and women like them. But, it doesn’t need to be that way. We can be courageous right here, in our homes, with the people around us. Spelling the word “courage” with seven simple words we can understand the depths of courage. We too can be courageous.
Courage is a big deal. Many people dream of being heroes and making a difference, but most of those people just aren’t willing to pay the price. Most of the greatest heroes of history never considered themselves to be great. They were just everyday people like you and me. The difference is they had the courage. Do you?
To be courageous we must know the courage of Christ. It is easy to think that in all His perfection He felt no fear. But, Christ was God made man. He knows what fear is. Yet, when all odds were against Him, He willingly conquered sin through the greatest act of love. He took the sins of the world to the cross. His burden was far greater than any that we bear and still He took it. In His death He bore our sins, and in His resurrection he conquered sin. This was the greatest act of courage that Christ gave us, but He was courageous even before that time. When the Pharisees mocked or questioned Him, He did not hesitate to give answers that would make many of us cringe. The truth flowed from His tongue whether it pleased or displeased people. He rebuked the rich young ruler and He boldly rebuked His own disciples. Christ was a man of courage.
Optimism is a huge part of courage because how you view things is how you will act. If something is frightening to you then you will be hesitant to face it. If you are fearful of a situation it will only make the situation worse. If we look as positively as possible at difficult situations, they will appear brighter. Trusting in God’s all powerful plan gives us the hope an assurance to face any task or situation. We need to have the courage to smile, even when life looks bleak. Having the courage to smile, even when we are afraid, can help us make a bigger impact, to touch more lives.
Fear is one of the greatest tools that the Devil has against us. Nothing will drive us away from taking a stand, speaking up, saving lives, like fear will. As Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Fear stops us from moving. It hinders our every step, paralyzing our actions. Only when we conquer our fears and hand them over to God can we be courageous. Trusting in His sovereign power and authorship, we can move on, through the darkness, onto the stage, into the seas, wherever He sends us He will give us the courage to go.
Being courageous is taking risks; Big or small. The board game Risk is a prime example of what risks are like in real life. If you roll the right number you can take over the country. However, if you roll the wrong number you lose your armies. So it is in life. Risks are, well, risky. You could lose everything. But you will never, NEVER, win if you don’t take the risk. You have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. As you push, practice. Don’t go out there unprepared. Learn the skills, get the knowledge and go out there in confidence. Stand up for what’s right and don’t be afraid. Help those that need your help. Don’t give up. No risks are easy. It’s a risk. They’re risky.
One of the saddest realities of life is that there are opportunities and moments when heroes are needed all the time, but we miss them because we don’t open our eyes. If we aren’t striving to be courageous and help other we won’t. We won’t see the bruises, we won’t see the dejection, we won’t hear the lies, and we won’t fight the fight. We will simply miss it all. If we want to be courageous then we need to be alert and ready. We need to know the skills to save lives, to give a speech, to write a letter, to give a rebuke. We need to have the knowledge to explain why evolution is false, why abortion is murder, why homosexuality is an abomination. If we aren’t ready and we don’t know, how can we help? And if we don’t open up our eyes, how will we ever see our chance to make a difference?
Being gutsy is much like taking risks, but it’s taking the risks that most people wouldn’t dare take. A major part of being gutsy is being bold, being willing to say what no one else will. There are definitely intimidating people in this world, but the gutsy person will not let that hinder doing what God wants them to do. With courage they will face the giant like David. Who cares about what other people think and say? It’s none of our business anyways. If someone is defying what you know to be right then face them and say something.
Courage takes action…now. You can’t wait. If you just wait around for a situation in which you can be a hero to present itself, you will be waiting for a long time. Start small. You don’t have to rescue a hostage as your first mission. Be eager to show courage in the small things. Defend others, stand up for what’s right, jump to help at every given opportunity. But, don’t sit and wait. It just doesn’t work.